GPH, MILF sign transition annex

Both sides also sign the terms for the policing body

DEVELOPMENTS. The respective panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front draft their joint closing statement. Photo from OPAPP's Twitter account

MANILA, Philippines (2nd Update) – One down, 3 more to go. 

The government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed the Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities (TAM) Wednesday night, February 27 before the last session of the 36th round of peace talks ended at 9:49 pm — the longest since the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on Oct 15, 2012. 

The annex outlines the transition process and defines the various mechanisms to be employed towards the creation of the Bangsamoro political identity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

It states that the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will be “MILF-led.” Under the annex, the BTA is defined as the “main mechanism for the MILF’s leadership in the Bangsamoro during the transition process.” The issue on who would lead the BTA had been one of the most contentious issues in discussions over the annex in the past round of talks. 

According to the signed document, the transition process will be as follows: 

  1. Creation of the Transition Commission
  2. Operation of the Transition Commission
  3. The Bangsamoro Basic Law
  4. Work on Constitutional Amendments
  5. Ratification of Bangsamoro Basic Law
  6. Bangsamoro Transition Authority
  7. Monitoring
  8. Exit Document

Mechanisms and modalities to be formed and utilized during the transition towards the Bangsamoro political authority will be:

  1. Transition Comission — a 15-member body that will draft the Bangsamo Basic Law
  2. Bangsamoro Transition Authority – a body that will serve as an interim government until the election of officials for the Bangsamoro in 2016
  3. Third Party Monitoring Team – a group that will monitor and evaluate the implementation of the comprehensive agreement
  4. Joint Normalization Committee – a body tasked to ensure the coordination between the government and the MILF towards full decommissioning

Both sides also signed the Terms of Reference for the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP), which will be tasked to submit recommendations to the peace panels on the appropriate form, structures and relationships of the police force for the Bangsamoro.

Signing of comprehensive peace pact by April

Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said both sides are optimistic that their target deadline to complete work on all annexes by March would be met. 

“It’s true that we are very upbeat about the progress in the talks. As you know, we were able to accomplish two documents,” Ferrer said in a video conference from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Thursday. 

The signing ceremonies for the comprehensive agreement, composed of the Framework Agreement and the 4 annexes, is targeted to held in April, according to Ferrer. 

Former Agriculture Sec Senen Bacani said the annex on wealth-sharing was “almost ironed out” and working solutions have been formulated on the 3 remaining contentious items:

  • how taxes will be devolved
  • mechanism of grant transfers from central government to Bangsamoro
  • shares and revenues from mineral and other natural resources

Meanwhile, 99% of issues on the annex on power-sharing has been resolved, said Political Affairs Undersecretary Chito Gascon. In the next round of talks, the government and the MILF are expected to resolve the following issues:

  • distribution and allocation of authorities between national government and regional government
  • jurisdiction over natural resources

For the 36th round of talks, only the technical working groups for the annex on normalization joined the team as discussions on two other annexes have already been elevated to the respective peace panels. 

The talks were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia amid an ongoing standoff by the followers of the Sultan of Sulu in Sabah in a bid to reignite the Philippines’ claim to the area. 

Both the MILF and the government peace panel have maintained that the Sabah claim was a separate issue from the creation of a new political identity. – Rappler.com

Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities

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